-- May 10, 2011 Israel Independence Day- The View of NYT the View of J Street What Can Be Done

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

May 10, 2011 Israel Independence Day- The View of NYT the View of J Street What Can Be Done

Today is Yom Ha'Atz'ma'ut, Israel's Independence Day. This is the 63rd anniversary of Israel's independence, and in the unique tradition that is Israel's, last night as the sun went down, the country transformed itself from a nation that commemorates and grieves for all too many sacrifices that were made to ensure its Independence, to a nation that celebrates its successes. My hope was to write a feel good article on independence. At the end of today's entry I will add a nice story about water and Israel, but my own thinking has been effected by two related events.

The first item I want to address is yesterday's Editorial in the New York Times A Fatah Hamas Deal. I read it at Midnight on Sunday night when it was posted. Though the NYTimes does not surprise me anymore, I was still rather surprised that this commentary was what the Times decided to print to greet Israel’s Independence. The editorial while highlighting concerns about Hamas, states that the Hamas- Fatah agreement is an opportunity to move the peace process forward. Furthermore, the Times calls on the Obama Administration to put forth a peace p

I immediately commented on the piece under Multied.

This morning, in honor of Yom Ha'Atz'ma'ut, I received an e-mail from J-Street, not entitled Yom Ha'Atz'ma'ut, but rather, "Opportunity, tell Congress". The bulk of the e-mail was devoted to concerns that Congress might penalize the Palestinian Authority for the merger. They also claim with a certain level of skepticism that this an opportunity, and called on the Obama Administration to put forth a peace plan. They have also provided a web site to e-mail their editorial to members of Congress.

It seems to me neither the Times nor J Street get it. I am certainly not a great fan of Prime Minister Netanyahu. I wish desperately that Ben Gurion, or an equally great leader was at the helm at this time of tremendous peril, albeit at the same time, a tremendous opportunity. I wish Abba Eban was representing us to the world, and not a foreign Minister that makes David Levy look like he was good at the job. But if you respect democracy, you must realize that Israel’s Democratic system has brought these people to power. The way to change Israel’s path is to find ways to influence the Israeli electorate. One must find ways to make them believe there could really peace. Israelis must believe that the United States will stand by Israel and not toss it off like it did to Mubarak. This is indeed a time of great opportunity, as any time of great political fluidity can be. However, it is also a time of tremendous danger. From a far, it's easy to see the opportunities, but from near, the dangers are no doubt much more palpable.

As to the "good news" for Yom Ha'Atz'ma'ut, Israeli TV ran a nice piece about Israel water plans. Those plans have finally moved forward to the extent that within the next five years Israel is expected to cease having to take water from the Kinneret. Instead Israel will get most of its water from desalinization plants that are coming on line. At that point it's expected that over the next decade the Kinneret, as well as Israel’s undergrounds reserves will have a chance to recover from decades of over pumping. Additional plans are to connect the Arava with the National water carrier, thus providing water for the high value farming that takes place in that desert region.

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